Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Archivists on Wikipedia

This came through the archives listserv a few days back and I meant to blog it, but it slipped my mind. ArchivesNext has the story.

In sum, Wikipedia has a policy against organizations filling their articles with links to themselves; that sort of self-pimping is deeply frowned upon and the links usually get deleted rather promptly. Unfortunately, this entirely reasonable policy was also sweeping up some well-meaning archivists who were trying to improve the documentation in Wikipedia by linking to the sources they knew best - their own archives. Their work was being deleted as illicit self-service.

The good news is that the Wikipowers-that-be have granted a desirable exception to their rules against self-promotion, which can only improve Wikipedia's reliability. Assuming they don't abuse their new privileges, archives will be allowed to link to their own relevant holdings. Thank goodness! The reference section of your average Wikipedia article tends to be an utter embarrassment, a small collection of links to random websites with dubious credentials. Letting archivists in on the act can only make the product stronger.

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